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    1903

    April 1903

    “Co-Workers with God” The Medical Missionary 12, 4.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    We do not get our reward in the next world for the work that we do in this,-we get our reward here. What we get in the next world is a free gift. We get our reward for the work that we do as we go along, and the reward is the happiness that we get out of it, and the ability that it gives us to do more.MEDM April 1903, page 89.1

    He who does not work so well that he learns how to do more does not receive a full reward. I have within recent years learned more fully the meaning of these words of Scripture: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” I used to think, in common, I suppose, with most people, that the reward the Lord would give, would be for what we had done here; that he would measure up the amount of work we had done, and then give us our wages. I have learned better than that. Real work cannot be paid for,-it is beyond price.MEDM April 1903, page 89.2

    In the parable of the pounds, one pound is said to have gained five, and another ten, etc. In the other parable, the talents are doubled-each one had double the original amount, with the exception of the unfaithful servant. Then his lord said to the faithful servant, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”MEDM April 1903, page 89.3

    Putting this with the text, “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” we find that God gives to every man according as his work shall be found to be, that is to say, we are here in our apprenticeship. We must disabuse our minds entirely of the idea that we are here doing work for the Lord. We are simply learning how to work; we are serving our apprenticeship here, and when the Lord comes and examines our work, he will give us work to do according to the abilities which we have developed here. So he that has done little in this world will have but little to do in the next, because he has developed but little capacity for work. He that hath done much in this world will have much to do in the next, because he has developed a capacity for doing a great deal. Now think! Can God give you any higher work than to associate you with himself in the government of his kingdom? Can you think of anything higher? Is not that a far higher incentive to work than the idea that in the next world we will have nothing to do but lounging about and looking around and letting time hang heavy on our hands? Can there be any incentive to work than to let God make the most out of us of that which is within us?-and he can do wonderful things with very poor material. Can there be any higher incentive to faithfulness than the thought that according as our faithfulness has developed us here will our standing be in the world to come?MEDM April 1903, page 89.4

    Do not get the idea that God’s is to cease when this present world work ceases. God was at work before this world was made, and he has been working ever since, and he will have work to do throughout all eternity. When the sun is blotted out of the universe that will be only the beginning of work. I have sometimes illustrated it in this way: Here is a factory in which there is a number of machines at work. There is one master mind controlling them all; while for every one, two, or three machines,-according to the work,-there is one person in charge of the men, there is one master mind directing the whole. Suddenly, while every one is busy and the hum and whirr of labor is everywhere heard, there is an unusual noise, and on investigation it is found that one of the machines has gone wrong; some part has given way, and it is out of repair. Now what do the men do who are engaged in work with that machine. Their work does not cease, but it is changed, and their regular work ceases. There is an interference with and an interruption of their work because their machine is out of order, and they have to turn to and repair it. When this is done, the regular work will go on.MEDM April 1903, page 90.1

    We are now engaged in the work of repair here in this fallen world. Here is one part of the machinery of God’s great workshop that has gone wrong; it is out of repair, and the work in which all the workmen are engaged at present is simply that of repairing,-restoring that which was lost, and as soon as the work of restoration is completed then the real work will go on. The real work of God will go on when lost souls have been restored and brought into harmony with God’s mind and purpose, so that they can understand him, know him, and know his ways.MEDM April 1903, page 90.2

    You will remember the fault that God found with the children of Israel in the desert was that they had seen his work for forty years, and yet had not learned his way. We read in Hebrews 3:10: “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” Also, Psalm 95:8-11: “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways; unto whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Now you would say it was a very stupid apprentice-a very dull scholar-that would go into any factory or workshop, or into business of any kind, and be there five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years, to say nothing of forty years, and have the privilege of seeing the master workman at work, and of understanding the work, and yet not learn anything about the business, wouldn’t you? You would say that he certainly should be turned off by that time.MEDM April 1903, page 90.3

    Forty years is a good long apprenticeship, and if a man has not learned anything in that time, the master would certainly be warranted in pronouncing him incorrigible. So it was with the Israelites in the wilderness: God worked with them forty years, showing his marvelous work, and they were constantly seeing it, and yet at the end of forty years they had not learned his ways. But we know from the Scriptures that one of that number did learn the ways of God,-“He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” All the children of Israel saw the acts of God, but Moses learned his ways; that, I think, was the reason Moses was promoted earlier than the others were; he found his place in the kingdom of God, and could go on and pursue the work there that he had so well learned to do on this earth. So we are here to learn the ways of God.MEDM April 1903, page 90.4

    That brings to my mind a text, “He that cometh to God must believe that he is.” It is the simplest thing in world to please God. “Without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is.” God does not require a difficult thing of us. All that he wants is for us to learn of him-to learn his ways; to learn his way of working, that we may be prepared more fully to join in with him in the work that he shall give us to do when this little interruption has been made good, when the damage in the workshop has been repaired, when his people have finished their apprenticeship and are prepared to go into the higher branch of work.MEDM April 1903, page 90.5

    All that the Lord requires of us is that we shall recognize things as they are,-that we shall see what is; that we shall come to appreciate things that are as they really are: to believe that things are just as they are. We manufacture nothing by believing. Whether we believe a thing or not does not make a particle of difference with it. We do not create anything by faith; we appropriate by faith. We do not make anything in the universe any different from what it is by not believing it. God wants us to believe only those things that are such plain, simple, self-evident truths that they lie open before our eyes, if we only have our eyes open,-and there, by the way, is the great difficulty. There are more people in this world going around blind, than anybody has any idea of. The Lord Jesus gave to his apostle Paul the work of opening blind eyes. And Jesus himself, when he entered his earthly ministry in Nazareth, quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” “The recovering of sight to the blind.” He was to enable the blind to see.MEDM April 1903, page 91.1

    We read of those who worship false gods, which means everybody who does not know the true God. These gods themselves “have eyes, but they see not.” And “they that make them are like unto them;” that is, they have eyes but they see not. Who have eyes but see not?-They who worship false gods; that is every one who does not worship the true God. It is not necessarily everybody who makes an image and sets it up in his house and calls down and worships it three times a day, who worships a false god; it means every one who does not know God. Just to the extent to which he does not know God, he has some false god that he worships.MEDM April 1903, page 91.2

    To know God does not mean to know him once in a while. There are some people with whom we have but a very slight acquaintance; we have met them occasionally on the street or in their house, but if we meet them on the street with a changed dress we do not recognize them. And if we meet them in an unexpected place or when we are not looking for them, we do not recognize them. That is the way with a great many people who think they know God; they know him sometimes, they know him occasionally, but they don’t know him everywhere, they don’t know him wherever he appears or is to be seen, and consequently they don’t know him yet; and just to the extent that they don’t know him, they are wandering around in the dark.MEDM April 1903, page 91.3

    God is,-and when you have said that you have said the greatest truth that can be grasped by finite beings. He that cometh to God must believe that he is,-that is all; must believe that he is,- always, everywhere. We must have our eyes open, because the apostle Paul tells us that the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity, so that those who do not worship him are without excuse. The invisible things of God are clearly seen; and the man who sees nothing in this world beyond what he can see with his eyes sees but little. Man is to see more than his natural eyes will enable him to see. The man who does not see, does not know where he is going; and he who walks through this world confidently and with assurance, is the one who can see in the dark. The man who knows where he is going is the one who can see things that are unseen. He who cannot see things that are unseen is creeping through this world like one who goes into a dark room; where furniture is scattered about and does not know what he may run against: he has to feel his way very carefully, for he does not know where he is going. But the man who can see things that are invisible, things that are unseen, can walk securely and confidently where another person will walk hesitatingly and fearfully.MEDM April 1903, page 91.4

    So faith is an eye-opener. Faith enables a person to see things that are unseen; mark you, not to imagine something, for it only enlarges his vision; for example, suppose my eye-sight were so much better developed than yours that I could see as far and as clearly as a Iarge telescope could reveal to you. You know very well, that as you look up to the starry heavens at night you can see a certain number of stars, but with even an ordinary glass you can see more, while with a larger telescope you can see wonderful things-they stand out clear and sharp. Now use the largest telescope, and where you could see but a few stars before, you can now see myriads of them. Where there was a little cluster of light you will see innumerable suns. Where you could see only a little spark of light, you can now see double stars, or three or four stars, or revolving suns-one blue, another red, another green, and another yellow. Suppose here is a man whose sight is so keen that he can see all that that large telescope can reveal; he is with people who have never heard of the wonders of the heavens; he looks up into the sky on a clear night, and begins to tell them what he sees. He says, “See that double star, that blue star, and that flaming red star-there are three stars! See that wonderful green star!” People would say, “That man is mad, he is crazy. He simply goes round with his head in the clouds, and he imagines things; you don’t want to pay any attention to him, he is off; he is a sort of harmless lunatic; you don’t know what he may do,-he hasn’t done anything dangerous yet, but he is off his head.” Why, the man is not imagining anything. He is telling what he sees, and they can’t see it, that’s all.MEDM April 1903, page 92.1

    Now that is all that faith does. The man who can see by faith will talk about things that to other people are nonsense. And that is exactly what the scripture says,-“The things of the Spirit of God are not known to the carnal man, neither can he know them (they are foolishness unto him) for they are spiritually discerned.” So that talk about the things of God, and the work of God is often foolishness to the man whose eyes are not yet open. Therefore we are to pray to the Lord with the psalmist, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” The Lord also invites us to ask of him “eye-salve that our eyes may be opened, that we may see.” The Lord wants everybody to see, and then tell what he has seen, that’s all. All the Lord’s people must be seers,-they must see,-because the Lord has no blind men in his kingdom; there will not be any blind men there; the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.MEDM April 1903, page 92.2

    I want to impress upon you the thought that there are infinite things in the work of God, and in the word of God for us to see, and we have no more than entered the outskirts of the field of observation. As telescopes enlarged in capacity reveal greater wonders to astronomers who spend their lives in peering into the skies, discovering new suns and wonderful glories in the heavens, so the field of truth enlarges, because truth is that which is. An Italian astronomer first took a small section of the heavens and counted the stars that were to be seen with the naked eye; then with a small telescope he viewed only one-thirteenth of that space, and saw just as many stars as he could see before in the large space; then with a telescope of a higher power and the field of vision very much reduced, he saw still more stars. Now photography has come to the aid of human sight, and the stars have been made to tell their own story,-“the invisible things of God.” The invisible stars of God have been made to write their own record on the sensitive plate, and suns so far distant that the most powerful telescope would not reveal them, have been made to record themselves; by exposing the sensitive plate to some seemingly vacant space in the heavens for three or four hours, the light accumulates sufficient to leave an impression of innumerable dots showing the presence of a countless number of stars-stars that were so far distant that enough light did not come in five minutes to be perceptible. And so, as the range of God’s universe is opened out before us more and more, we are warranted in the belief that if the astronomer with his telescope and his camera were transported from this earth to the most distant visible sun, and could there set up his instruments and look farther out into the universe in the same direction as before, the same thing would be repeated. What a wonderful thing it is to believe that God is. We are told to lift up our eyes to the heavens “and behold, who hath made all these? He bringeth forth their hosts by number. He calleth them by their names, because he is great in might and strong in power, not one of them is lacking.”MEDM April 1903, page 92.3

    There was a time, not so very many years ago, when people thought that God’s promise to Abraham did not amount to very much when he said, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall by seed be.” People thought they had numbered the stars, but they had numbered only five or six thousand of them,-not very many; but they have since found that the stars are innumerable. That is God’s truth, and those are some of the works of God, and they show us his power who upholds all things,-“who knoweth the number of the stars and calleth them by their names.” Now we are to believe that it is,-there is a large field for our faith.MEDM April 1903, page 93.1

    And that shows us that we must learn to see things that are unseen, in the truth. God’s Spirit searches the deep things of God that we may know them. I am sure all of you remember the words of Christ when the Pharisees and other Jews were caviling with him about work he had done, and when he had declared to them that they were not worthy to be the children of Abraham, and said to them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” That is a marvelous saying. If we were going to show our priority to some one younger than we, we would not use that expression; we would say, “Before he was, I was.” That is all we could say; but not so with the Lord,-“Before Abraham was I am.”MEDM April 1903, page 93.2

    What is the difference between “I am,” and “I was”? It is only the difference in the person who is speaking. God says, “I am,” and we agree with him, and say “God is.” So we have the same truth here in John 8:58. In that chapter there is something that we are liable to overlook in our ordinary reading,-and we will begin at the fifty-eighth verse because we have it in our version, “Before Abraham was, I am.” I will give you only a few leading, striking points on this subject. I refer you to the fifty-eighth verse first because there the rendering is very plain-“Before Abraham was, I am.” Now turn to the twenty-fourth verse of the same chapter, beginning with the twenty-third verse: “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” I have read this just as it reads in your Bibles, but you will notice that the word he, following the words I am, is in Italics. The original Greek of this expression is the same as the corresponding words in the fifty-eight, verse-“l am.” There is not a particle of difference in these expressions as in the two verses, and why the translators inserted the word he in the twenty-fourth verse and omitted it in fifty-eighth verse, I do not know. The original Greek reads, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Now read the twenty-fourth verse by the same rule. “If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” That tells us the same thing, doesn’t it? That is wonderfully impressive; there is something in it that is most majestic and sublime. So comprehensive are the statements of Scripture that a very simple statement has enough matter in it for our contemplation for a lifetime.MEDM April 1903, page 93.3

    Lord Aylesbury, better known to readers of scientific works as Sir John Lubbock, the famous author of a work on “Ants, Wasps, and Bees,” and other valuable works, recently said this: “There is not one plant whose history is perfectly known; there is not one ordinary plant whose habits and history are known that would not well repay, not simply the devotion of an hour, but of a lifetime to its study.” So wonderful are God’s works. So it is with any single statement that God has made. There is not a single truth but is so vast and so comprehensive that it will well repay the study of a lifetime.MEDM April 1903, page 94.1

    “Before Abraham was, I am.” “If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” Does not that correspond exactly with what we read in Hebrews 11:6: “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is.”MEDM April 1903, page 94.2

    There is nothing worth studying but God,-to know his ways; to study his works and to learn his ways and to know God in all his works includes the knowledge of himself, first of all. “If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24.) Now in the twenty-eighth verse we read, “Then Jesus said unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am.” You all know what that expression means,-“lifted up the Son of man.” You will also remember the well-known passage “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto me”-not all men, but all things-“this he spake signifying what death he should die.” So the lifting up of Jesus means his elevation upon the cross,-it means the cross of Christ.MEDM April 1903, page 94.3

    (To be continued.)

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